Three months after the signing of the Tripartite Agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan in September 1940, a high-ranking Japanese military delegation arrived in December to meet their new ally, Adolf Hitler, and to define key points for the common global policy between the two parties.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita led the Japanese delegation, and Japanese officials decided at the time to choose the latter to lead this military delegation because of his experience and fame in the military circles, which quickly doubled after Japan entered World War II, following the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and his resounding success in the invasion of Singapore.
Hitler and Yamashita meeting
Upon his arrival in Germany, General Yamashita met Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
The two sides also differed at first about the future outlook of the world and foreign policy, so Hitler went during one of the meetings to demand the necessity of Japan entering the world war quickly by declaring war on both Britain and the United States of America.
Meanwhile, Yamashita expressed his rejection of this idea, stressing his country’s fear of Soviet policies in the region, especially with the intensity of border skirmishes between the two sides throughout the 1930s. In addition, Yamashita was pessimistic about Hitler’s suggestion, stressing that Japan did not want to open another front at the same time as the Sino-Japanese war had continued since 1937.
On the other hand, Yamashita was optimistic about the Japanese-German military cooperation, as the latter believed in the possibility of providing his country with German technology in the field of radar and military industries. Unfortunately for the latter, however, the Germans neglected and ignored the Japanese delegation’s questions about Japan’s technological assistance, much to the disappointment of the Japanese.
Photo of Japanese tanks on the border with the Soviet Union
Gold and expansion ambitions
During his remarks to reporters, Yamashita talked about a great future partnership between Germany and Japan, stressing the existence of a great military and diplomatic understanding between the two parties.
But in fact, financial and economic cooperation was the most important thing that the two parties agreed on due to the accumulation of significant amounts of gold for them. During the early years of the war, the Germans looted hundreds of tons of gold from the banks of the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.
Image depicting the surrender of General Yamashita in 1945
In return, Japan obtained similar amounts of riches thanks to its success in subjugating a large part of northeastern China. Coinciding with the entry of the Japanese into the Philippines after the attack on Pearl Harbor, many Western analysts spoke of General Yamashita’s concealment of huge amounts of gold, contributing to the emergence of the legend of Yamashita’s lost treasure.
About 6 months after his meeting with Hitler, Yamashita made another statement in which he spoke about the compatibility of the German vision with its Japanese counterpart.
General Yamashita’s photo
With the beginning of differences between Japanese military officials over the expansionist policy in 1942, General Yamashita supported the idea of Japan obtaining more colonies, stressing that this was compatible with the policy of the German-Japanese alliance and Hitler’s promises that Japan should dominate India and obtain South Africa.
In addition, Yamashita was unable to continue his expansionist ambitions, which coincided with Adolf Hitler’s vision. During the last months of 1945, the latter was sentenced to death by hanging, carried out on February 23, 1946, coinciding with his country’s loss of the world war and his appearance before an American military court.